Laurie, a New York theater director married to Sean, one of my many Northwestern theater major friends who moved to New York after graduation (and herself now a friend of mine as well), agreed to meet me to the Met and offered some direction on interpreting Hopper.
"The most honest thing an artist can do," she began, "is present something. Hopper simply presents us with an image, but we're left with all of these emotions. He's a very pleasing painter, but he's obviously manipulating you somehow. Look at From Williamsburg Bridge. The tallest window is the one that has the person in it. He's not just saying, 'Here's a building.' He's trying to lead your eye to that person--who you can't see on a postcard reproduction. That's why you go to see Hopper's paintings in person."
"You could say," she continued, "Lighthouse at Two Lights was a film set and instead of sunlight those are klieg lights broadsiding it. The director said, 'Make it look like autumn.' You can tell the exact rolling nature of the hill in Lighthouse at Two Lights: where there's a dip, etc. You also get a feel for the wind. I can see all this but I couldn't do it. Like I can't swim but I can teach you how."